Dog parks are increasing in popularity because they’re a great way to give your dog the exercise and socialization they need, but do you know everything you should about dog park etiquette?
A day at the local dog park can be a fun time for you and your companion, but if you aren’t careful, things could take a turn for the worse. You never know when you’ll come across aggressive dogs, contagious illnesses, or that weird dog owner who has a different idea of how dogs should interact. Being prepared can ensure you’re ready to handle any situation, so here are some dog park etiquette tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
First, it’s important to assess your pet to make sure they’re ready to do some off-leash socializing. Sadly, not every dog is the ideal candidate for dog park play time.
Is your dog:
- spayed or neutered?
- well socialized with other animals?
- aggressive or a bully?
- free from contagious illness or parasites?
- good with strangers and people in general?
Vaccines are mandatory if you plan on socializing your dog.
Not only are some vaccines legally mandated, but they also help prevent the spread of unnecessary illness. Even the American Veterinary Medical Association agrees that the “widespread use of vaccines within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even though some formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because these serious disease agents continue to be present in the environment.”
It’s a no-brainer to vaccinate to save the life of your pet, along with thousands of others.
Haven’t you learned anything from the great Bob Barker? How about Dr. Jeff Rocky, Mountain Vet?
There is a reason why these two are such advocates of pet sterilization. According to the American Humane Society, approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year. That number would go way down if more people could spay or neuter their pets.
If your dog is vaccinated, sterilized and has an overall clean bill of health, that’s great, but it’s really only a piece of the puzzle.
Your pet’s attitude is a huge factor in dog park etiquette. It is up to you, the pet owner to know how your dog might respond in social settings. You don’t want to end up with an injured dog (or person) because you went to the park knowing your dog is aggressive, anxious. or stressed out. Stressed dogs can be reactive, and aggressive dogs that are stressed are even worse. Dog parks are a place for dogs to run freely, and you can’t let yours possibly add to the risk of a fight. It’s just not safe.
If you have a moody dog and love the idea of dog park outings, it’s best to call a trainer and see what you can do to work on their behavior. It’s better for you, the dog, and everyone else at the park. Dog parks are more pleasant environments when they’re full of happy go lucky, well-socialized dogs.
Another factor in dog park etiquette is the owner’s behavior. Yes, I am talking about you.
Do you keep your dog on a leash in an off-leash zone? Are you bringing puppies that are too young or a dog that’s in heat? Are you ignoring any of the advice we stated at the beginning of this article? Well then my friend, you also need a little training.
We all want to give ourselves a great dog park experience, but that all starts with the owner. Humans are responsible for the safety of their pet and others when in social situations. It’s important to stay alert, and know how to manage incidents if they occur.
It’s also important to do your research on the rules and regulations of the park you plan on attending.
Bring Fido is an excellent resource for finding dog-friendly parks and beaches. It’s kind of like the Trip Advisor for dogs. You can search by state, and see reviews, photos, and get a link to their website to find out more information.
It’s important to be honest with your assessment. No one wants to think of their dog as ‘bad,’ and really there are no bad dogs, just ones that need training. A little work and some preparation will make for a great dog park experience.
What dog park etiquette tips could you share with our readers? Leave a comment.
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